Stroke changes lives in an instant and can have a huge impact on family and friends too. When Sophie and Jem Allport's dad, Patrick, had a severe haemorrhagic stroke (a bleed in his brain), their world turned upside down.
'Dad was our friend as much as he was our father,' says Jem. 'Nothing was ever too much trouble and we enjoyed his company as much as (I hope) he enjoyed ours!
'He was one of the fittest 59-year-olds we knew. He was always an early riser and would get up, shower and then bring Mum a cup of tea in bed.
'His stroke in March 2004 was a bolt out of the blue. Early one morning, Mum found him collapsed on the kitchen floor.
'He was in intensive care for four months and then the stroke unit at Lincoln County Hospital. He lost the use of his left arm and had limited use of his left leg. His speech and personality were also affected.
'Seeing him in hospital after his stroke was traumatic. He went from playing sports regularly, to being bedridden and unable to walk or talk. It was harrowing.
'Mentally he was never the same again. We always say it was like having two fathers. He'd get infections that would change his personality overnight. It was really tough to witness and we feel so terrible for him that he had to endure it.
'We had to make new relationships, roles and dynamics within our family. Mum became Dad's carer and the pressure that put on her was immense. Luckily, our parents have an amazing group of friends who rallied round. We also spoke to the Stroke Association who gave us help and advice.
'Dad was a survivor and determined to be as independent as he could be. He had lots of physiotherapy and worked hard to walk with the assistance of a stick. He adapted to only being able to use his right arm - he was determined to play golf single handedly! Eventually he managed to drive again with an adapted car.'
Sadly, Patrick passed away in 2008.
Sophie and Jem now run their own business, homeware and lifestyle brand, Sophie Allport. In their dad's memory, they've partnered with us to raise funds for stroke survivors and their families. 'The Stroke Association looked after our father so well, and we wanted to be able to do something in return.'
Caring for a stroke survivor?
Get information and advice on supporting a stroke survivor, while looking after yourself. Call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 if you need further help.
Find out more
Sophie Allport is selling Christmas cards to support the Stroke Association this winter. They're also offering Stroke News readers 15% off until 6 February 2023. Visit sophieallport.com and use code SOPHIE-15.
(Terms and conditions - Promotions aren't valid on made to measure curtains and blinds, service charges, gift vouchers or sale items and can't be used in conjunction with any other offer.)
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the winter 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.